William Howard Russell 1827-1907 was perhaps the first modern war correspondent. He reported for the London Times on the Crimean War and later on the American Civil War.
Most European visitors were enthusiastic admirers of the Confederacy, and in particular of its romantic leadership. Russell was different. He viewed both sides skeptically and with cynicism. Mary Boykin Chestnut, in her famous diaries, occasionally expressed indignation over Russell’s published comments.
In Russell’s Diary for August 1, 1861 in The Civil War in America, he summarized South Carolinians’ uncomplimentary perspective on New England, which goes a good way to explain the motivations for secession.
“If that confounded ship had sunk with those —— Pilgrim Fathers on board,” says one, “we never should have been driven to these extremities!” “We could have got on with fanatics if they had been either Christians or gentlemen,” says another; “for in the first case they would have acted with common charity, and in the second they would have fought when they insulted us; but there are neither Christians nor gentlemen among them!” “Anything on the earth!” exclaims a third, “any form of government, any tyranny or despotism you will; but”—and here is an appeal more terrible than the adjuration of all the Gods—“nothing on earth shall ever induce us to submit to any union with the brutal, bigoted blackguards of the New England States, who neither comprehend nor regard the feelings of gentlemen! Man, woman, and child, we’ll die first.” Imagine these and an infinite variety of similar sentiments uttered by courtly, well-educated men, who set great store on a nice observance of the usages of society, and who are only moved to extreme bitterness and anger when they speak of the North, and you will fail to conceive the intensity of the dislike of the South Carolinians for the Free States. There are national antipathies on our side of the Atlantic which are tolerably strong, and have been unfortunately pertinacious and long-lived. The hatred of the Italian for the Tedesco, of the Greek for the Turk, of the Turk for the Russ, is warm and fierce enough to satisfy the Prince of Darkness, not to speak of a few little pet aversions among the allied Powers and the atoms of composite empires; but they are all mere indifference and neutrality of feeling compared to the animosity evinced by the “gentry” of South Carolina for the “rabble of the North.” Read the rest of this entry »
The Independent has new details on the recent South Carolina alligator victim’s final moments.
A woman was killed by an alligator as she attempted to touch the animal after spotting it in a nearby pond, authorities said.
Cynthia Covert, 58, was at her friendâ€™s home on Kiawah Island, South Carolina, painting her nails. According to the police report, the friend said Ms Covert was â€œvery talkative and strangeâ€.
â€œAt the salon Covert acts very professional but today she was very relaxed and excited that her boyfriend was coming from Tennessee to visit,â€ the friend added, The Post and Courier reported. Ms Covert had one glass of wine during the interaction but the friend did not know if she was on other substances.
After doing the womanâ€™s nails, Ms Covert reportedly spotted the alligator in the pond and was â€œfascinatedâ€ by the animal.
Ms Covert walked over to the pond and started taking pictures of the animal, at which point the friend warned about how she saw a deer getting attacked by the alligator at that same location, deputies said.
â€œI donâ€™t look like a deer.â€ Ms Covert responded before she reportedly reached out to touch the animal.
It then attacked and grabbed the womanâ€™s leg, pulling her into the water.
â€œI guess I wonâ€™t do this again,â€ Ms Covert was heard saying after the alligator grabbed her, according to the police report.
CBS News also has a video, explaining that the woman tried to stop the alligator from taking her dog. It attacked her instead.
Deputies in South Carolina shot and killed an alligator that fatally attacked a woman on Friday, authorities said. CBS affiliate WCSC-TV reports that the coroner identified the victim as Cynthia Covert, 58, of Johns Island.
The officers were called to a pond on Kiawah Island around 5 p.m. and saw the animal attack, the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office said. Covert was found dead and deputies retrieved the alligator’s carcass to help with the investigation.
Susie Polston had fallen asleep watching “Friends” on television. She woke in the late night to a loud intruder on the porch outside her Mount Pleasant home.
â€œSomebodyâ€™s trying to break into the house,â€ she told her family. They secluded themselves in the master bedroom and called 911. But then the racket quit. Ben Polston, 16, her son, snuck a look and started yelling, â€œOh my God, I found it! I found it!â€
Heâ€™d found it all right. In the early hours of Easter, a nearly 10-foot alligator had clambered up the back stairwell to the second story porch of their home, crunched through the aluminum screen door and made itself at home between the sofa and a swinging bench. It lay there like a plastic prank, but when they rapped on the window glass, it lifted its head.
Sporting Classics reprints an old-time account by the great Archibald Rutledge of a plantation Christmas deer hunt, South Carolina-style… with hounds.
On the plantations that I know, deer hunting on Christmas Day is as natural as a Christmas tree, or kissing oneâ€™s sweetheart under the mistletoe.
After breakfast we gather on the plantation porch, and I smell the yellow jasmine that is tossing her saffron showers up the tall white columns. In the flower garden two red roses are blooming. In the wild orange trees beside the house myriads of robins, cedar waxwings, and a few wood-thrushes are having their Christmas breakfast. A hale, dewy wind breathes from the mighty pine forest.
The whole landscape, though bathed in sunshine, is still fresh with the beauty of the morning. Now the negro hunters come â€™round the side of the house, leading our horses, and followed by a pack of hounds. A rather motley crew they are, I think, for few plantations can boast of full-blooded stag-hounds; but they know their business. What they lack in appearance they supply in sagacity.
There is, I suppose, no grander sport in the whole world than riding to hounds after deer; and this is a sport typical of a plantation Christmas. It is almost a religious rite, and it never fails to supply the most thrilling entertainment for visitors. Indeed, I do not know exactly what the rural South would do without deer hunting as a diversion. Even in the cities, when distinguished guests arrive, the primary entertainment always provided is a stag hunt.
A classic from the old-time Field & Stream magazine by South Carolinian English professor Havilah Babcock put up on-line by Sporting Classics:
Does your health show a marked improvement during the hunting season, and do your honest ailments get scant sympathy from a suspicious household the rest of the year? If so, you are ripe for membership in the order of Misunderstood Husbands, Unincorporated, and entitled to all the rights and privileges thereunto appertaining.
I know a man who feels like â€œThe Wreck of the Hesperusâ€ for nine months of the year. He chews expensive vitamins. He sits for hours in the doctorâ€™s office reading magazines. His medicine cabinet is filled with strange nostrums in ill-assorted bottles. He is subject to neuritis and lumbago and is plagued by nondescript aches and pains.
His digestion is so bad that he pays dearly for the slightest dietary indiscretion. And night brings him little respite; for sleep, sweet sleep that so poetically â€œknits up the raveled sleeve of care,â€ leaves him fagged and haggard. Nightmares use him to practice up on. His family regards him, and perhaps not without provocation, as moody and irritable. This fellow is really in an unenviable fix, but somehow he manages to drag his creaking chassis along . . . until November comes.
He is not a malingerer. Nor a neurotic. Nor one of those who enjoy bad health and revel in imaginary symptoms. He is honestly ailing. Once he went to a famous diagnostician who examined him for three days, charged him $100, and said: â€œYou will live forever and feel like hell.â€ The second part of the diagnosis he can verify; the first part he is not so keen about verifying. Forever is too definite.
But when the first frost comes there is a noticeable improvement in his health. And when quail season arrives he is a new man. Tonics and elixirs and tinctures of this and that are consigned to the attic. The medical profession has to eke out its existence without his munificent patronage.
He is no longer susceptible to colds, neuritis, and lumbago, although he tramps the countryside in the unfriendliest of weather and is often in wet clothing the livelong day. He sleeps the sleep of the innocent, unharried by nightmares. His outlook is buoyant, his disposition amiable, and the household hears nothing of his woesâ€”not a solitary complaintâ€”for the next three months. For the master of the household is paying ardent court to Bob White and his bashful bevy.
This man sounds suspicious, but letâ€™s not convict him on circumstantial evidence. A moderately honest and hard-working man he is, and I have a deal of sympathy for him. I know him well. In fact, I might be pardoned for saying that I hold him in peculiar esteem, for with all my faults I love me still. He is the gent who has been living with my wife for 25 years.
The fact that the improvement in my health coincides with the advent of the quail season doesnâ€™t mean that my ills during the rest of the year are imaginary. For outdoor pursuits have a recognized therapeutic value. Especially quail hunting.
[T]he GOP is leaving Florida worse than it arrived.
â€œI think there has been lasting damage,â€ he said. â€œI think that when Newt Gingrich parades around the country saying Mitt Romney is a liar and Mitt Romney parades around country saying Newt Gingrich is a liar, the conclusion most people draw is theyâ€™re both liars.â€
I’d say though that it started in South Carolina, when the Gingrich campaign took the low road and started attacking Mitt Romney using the left’s anti-capitalist, class warfare arguments.
The massive counter-attack on Gingrich, featuring prominent Republicans, former Congressional colleagues, and conservative pundits, which stooped to utilizing bogus democrat party ethics charges fabricated in the late 1990s for purely partisan advantage was effective and appalling.
We came into this presidential campaign, essentially with an economy-based free “Elect One President” card which ought to have made this race a relative walk-over and a complete sure thing.
Our only problem has been the conspicuous absence, for many years, of a respected, confident and articulate, national figure conservative candidate. For some unaccountable reason, no one has come along to occupy the role once filled by Barry Goldwater and later by Ronald Reagan. Newt Gingrich, for instance, did not really enter the race with that credential. I tend to think that Sarah Palin may yet grow into the role, though she is not there yet. Her declining to run prematurely speaks well for her judgment, and Palin has since 2008 been doing the kind of thing no conservative since Reagan has done: she has functioned as a reliable and effective voice for the conservative movement, and has had regular impact on the national political debate from outside elective office.
We Republicans and conservatives ought to be filled with optimism and resolve at a point in history when it is clear that we are going to have an opportunity to change the country’s direction for the better, but instead we seem to have no leadership, no principles, no really satisfactory candidates, and no class. We clearly have too damn many slime mold professional campaign operators, too many spiteful and grudge-bearing has-beens, and too little genuine leadership.
The Republican Party, the Conservative Movement, and the country want the kind of leader who makes, not only our economy, but our politics better, the kind of man who leads and inspires.
If Gingrich and Romney persist in what they’ve been doing, they may yet re-elect Obama.
Byron York explains that this was a case of a nimbler, more effective campaign organization.
Gingrich’s defeat of Romney in South Carolina Saturday was absolutely dominating. Just a week ago, Romney had a solid lead over Gingrich in the polls. On Saturday night, he lost to Gingrich by 12 points — a huge and disastrous swing. Gingrich won 44 of South Carolina’s 46 counties.
How did it happen? For one thing, all the talk about Romney having a hugely superior ground organization turned out not to be true. “They did not do the retail politics that a Santorum and a Gingrich have done over time,” said Kevin Thomas, chairman of the Fairfield County Republican Party. (Thomas was neutral in the race.) “I think Newt’s people, they had more on-the-ground staff, and they worked.” There were a lot of them, too; after Gingrich’s strong showing in the debates, said Susan Meyers, Gingrich’s media coordinator for the Southeast, “We have so many volunteers, our phones are melting right now.”
Gingrich’s campaign was also faster and more nimble than the Romney battleship. “There is a very strong contrast between the two campaign organizations,” said Gingrich adviser (and former George W. Bush administration official) Kevin Kellems. “In military terms, it’s speed versus mass. Newt Gingrich’s operation, and Newt Gingrich as a man, has a great deal of speed — intellectual speed, decisiveness. The Romney campaign is much more about money and size, having hired half of Washington D.C. And sometimes, speed beats mass.”
Ed Rollins says that Mitt Romney never was a conservative and he can’t persuade people now that he is.
Karl Rove thinks Newt Gingrich can thank CNN’s John King.
After Newt Gingrich was declared the winner of the South Carolina primary Saturday night, Karl Rove suggested that the candidate has CNNâ€™s John King to thank for his victory in the Palmetto State.
â€œTaking on the media is always good in a Republican primary,â€ Rove said on Fox News. â€œJohn King couldnâ€™t have set up the question in a more positive way for Gingrich to just nail it and haul it right out of the park.â€
I caught most of yesterday evening’s debate, missing only the opening portion.
Personally, I found all the candidate’s positions generally agreeable and it was refreshing to hear, openly expressed, so many heresies from the consensus of the elect. All the GOP candidates acquited themselves well. I thought Romney has mastered playing the role of still-young-and-vigorous mature father figure to perfection. His voice and manner are remarkably pleasant and agreeable. One reflects that watching him spout generalities and persiflage at press conferences for four-to-eight years would probably be less painful than other alternatives.
Newt Gingrich, of course, is everyman’s bright, but bratty, younger brother grown old. Rick Santorum astutely identified Newt’s special instability and unpredictability, pointing out his lack of complete domestication as a drawback. Santorum was right, of course, that Newt Gingrich is a bit of a loose cannon, but I think myself that we are facing a crucial watershed moment in which what is vitally needed is a radical and far-reaching change of direction and fundamental revisions and reforms. I think that an unconventional person capable of original thought and willing to flout established opinion is precisely what the times require. Electing an enthusiastic nerd has genuine appeal as a proposition, I think.
Newt Gingrich is my favorite candidate, despite my having literally cursed his name and cast him out of my regard more than once, specifically because I think he has earned the front running position in the race. Newt Gingrich has, again and again, elevated the level of the conversation, clarified the issues, and moved the conversation beyond the media’s range of comfort. We should be supporting the candidate who makes the national conversation more intelligent.
Rick Santorum, despite my personal prejudices against traditionalists, deeply impressed me with his sincerity, intelligence, and combativeness. I did think he was a bit appalling in his position on illegal immigration, a regionally characteristic streak of Pennsylvania (Presbyterian-culture) fascism, came out in him on that one. I recognize exactly where this kind of morally delusive interest in following the rules for the sake of following the rules comes from. I grew up in the same state. People like Santorum are actually generally better than they sound. Beneath the (totally insane) insistence on always following all and every one of the laws and rules, they are generally quite good-hearted. Fill out the form they are insisting on being completed correctly, and they’ll give you the shirt off their back.
Even Ron Paul (who has frequently been the most self-righteous and obnoxious of the candidates) was pleasant to listen to. Ron Paul tends to remind me of a different back-home type, one’s clever, but slightly crazy, uncle, who has lots of theories and knows a whole lot about certain things, and who is very eager to tell you all about them. For a change, I thought Ron Paul added more pleasantness and good lines to the debate than extravagant accusations, and I was even beginning to lean to seeing him as a useful and creditable contributor.
Watching the debate conclude last night left this conservative Republican feeling happy and optimistic. I grew up in the same state as Rick Santorum, but I’ve come to appreciate the South. I’m decidedly comfortable with a key role, perhaps the decisive role, in selecting the Republican nominee being played by South Carolina.